— Update. We have been doing this for a very long time. This article was from 2016. No one has more experts in the NFL preseason game than us.
Hello Fantasy Footballers, I want to explain how to research and play NFL Preseason daily fantasy football and show you the pitfalls to avoid and the shortcuts you can take to gain advantages on other players, to make sure that you cash an even chase the top of the leaderboard.
He and a few of our Team DraftShot members actually had a higher ROI and total cash won in the 2015 NFL Preseason than we did in the regular season. Three of our Draftshot writers took down a total of four of the GPP’s in the four weeks of preseason NFL in 2015.
I like to play the $3 entry for the $1,000 prize and that is the GPP that I won. While I like to say that I am a Web Developer and not a writer, I don’t generally like to call myself an expert, but I have learned a thing or two about attacking sports that require a bit more research than the regular season of daily fantasy football.
While I do like Seth’s rundown of his Ultimate Guide to Researching Preseason NFL, I am going to try to not repeat as much as possible and to stick to other aspects. If you want to win twice as much, read them both.
Throw the idea of Salary Value out the Window
As daily fantasy players, we are hard-wired to see a player who cost more than another player and assume that the higher salary player is better on the field of play or will get more playing time. Pre-season isn’t setup that way. DraftKings makes sure of that by putting every player at the same salary price.
You have to read the camp reports and keep up on current progress of each player
Several people will tell you that Preseason is guessing and that you can not win at it, that isn’t true. You can easily give yourself a great chance of winning in the Preseason, but it requires more research and reading. Reports from camp are the easiest way to get a glimpse into the team and how an athlete is performing.
To do this research you have to use your Twitter account to read NFL beat writers accounts of the day in camp for each team. You have to mix this with the little coach information that you get. The most important part to me is to mix with Team Blogs, particularly SB Nation blogs. I created a Twitter List that I use for my research for the NFL preseason, and it also works well for the regular season.
NFL Preseason Lit List. Give me a break for saying Lit as I made this years ago.
The second source of great information is the ESPN Beat Writers who have to daily file a report with ESPN NFL Nation. If you only have little time available, this is a great place to catch up on what is going on in the camps.
You have to know who is injured and isn’t going to play
This is generally using the same sources but you have to write this down and track who is injured and not likely to play. Not only do you make sure that you don’t roster someone who isn’t going to be in the game, but you are able to find positions on teams with limited players to split time during the game. If one team has 6 Running Backs who will spend time on the field, but another only has 3 healthy, you might want to find out more about the team with only 3 RB. Keep a spreadsheet, remove the players who are going to be suited up and you will increase your chances of winning.
You have to listen and keep track of how long each player will play
Not every coach will give away this valuable information, but many of them will let you know that the starters will play a series or 2, the backup the rest of the second half and the second half will be split among the remaining players. If the coach puts out the game plan then you can get an idea if any of those players will get enough opportunity to help you win.
You want to stay away from the starters until week 3
The majority of starters only play a series or two. Last season a few starters were able to score as many fantasy points as the backups, but generally, that isn’t the case. Matt Ryan to Julio Jones for 4 catches and a touchdown or Cam Newton running it in is a possibility, even in only a series or two. The best time to play a true starter is week 3, the dress rehearsal game in which they play at least a half. Starters typically do not see the field at all in week 4. Avoiding starters is a great way to get a leg up on the other lineups. Many starters will end up being owned by 5% of entries, avoid them and you can avoid having a dead lineup.
You don’t need to stack a QB with a Receiver
Most teams will end up getting several quarterbacks in the game, different combinations of receivers. Stacking isn’t necessary, so don’t push it. The week for stacking would be the week 3 dress rehearsal game.
You don’t need an outstanding performance
A great performance might only be 4 catches and 50 yards. You are not looking for a 30 fantasy point performance, you can win with having each players only score 5-10 fantasy points. DraftKings is a full point per reception so try to find running backs and receivers that will get targets.
Offense and Defenses are vanilla
The coach doesn’t want to put too much on the field so that it can help other teams scout so play-calling is generally vanilla and simple. Don’t try to overthink it and look at matchups as teams mix and match with players in several combinations playing to get time on film.
Go for camp heroes, top performers in camp
Some camp studs do well in camp, but can’t transfer over to a real game. Most NFL camps allow only light contact. Playing in-game time situations at full speed requires a different type of play. Some studs are Tarzan in practices but end up being Jane in a real game. Your best bet is to find the camp studs, play them up and see if they can transfer it over. Coaches want to see this happen so they generally allow the players to prove themselves to make the 53 man roster.
Don’t be afraid to go all-in on chalk
The low owned guys with 2 touchdowns will win you championships, but don’t be afraid to go in on chalk and play your lines safe. You might not win first place but you should be able to have a good shot at pushing all of your entries past the cashing line.
Talk with Others, Join a Group
The reason that 3 of our group won NFL Preseason GPP’s last season is that we talked with each other and gave each other ideas for top plays. This season we are doing that in our Premium Member Slack Chat. We will all be in there helping each other, and every Premium Member, with who to avoid and who to go all-in on. We don’t always win, but we trust the process and do the research to get to the correct play.